Birth Injury Lawyers Assisting Families with Birth Injury Claims Involving Paralysis in Ontario
Nobody should have to worry about the risks of a devastating birth injury when they are pregnant, or during the labor and delivery process. Families should be able to trust their obstetrician, obstetric nurses, and the birth hospital to provide the necessary standard of care so that preventable injuries do not occur. However, birth injuries happen much more often than you might think, and in some cases. they can result in lifelong disabilities and even death. Paralysis is a serious type of birth injury that can occur as a result of medical negligence during pregnancy or during labor and delivery.
The advocates at Preszler Injury Lawyers have been serving plaintiffs in Canada for nearly six decades. We have experience handling a wide variety of personal injury lawsuits, and we are dedicated to helping injured parties seek compensation for their losses. Our experienced Ontario paralysis birth injury lawyers can discuss your options with you today for filing a birth injury lawsuit.
Understanding Paralysis as a Birth Injury
Paralysis as a birth injury can be devastating. There are many different types of paralysis, and paralysis can affect different parts of an infant’s body. In some cases, the paralysis can be treated and the child can regain movement or sensations with therapy or surgery, according to Stanford Children’s Health. However, in many cases, paralysis is permanent and irreversible. Many types of paralysis happen because of medical malpractice.
Causes of Infant Paralysis Birth Injury in Ontario
There are many different causes of infant paralysis, including but not limited to the following:
- Spinal cord injury caused by birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuums;
- Spinal cord injury caused by an obstetrician’s excessive use of force or rotational stress during labor and delivery;
- Nerve damage in the face, arms, neck, or shoulders caused by birth-assisting tools;
- Nerve damage in the face, arms, neck, or shoulders caused by excessive force during labor and delivery;
- Lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor and delivery, which can have many causes, such as improper use of birth-assisting tools, umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck, or delayed C-section;
- Infections during pregnancy; and
- Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), which is a disease that affects the nervous system and often occurs in very young children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Common Types of Paralysis Birth Injuries
When a child suffers paralysis, many different conditions and injuries can result, including but not limited to:
- Facial paralysis, which can result in little to no movement on one side of a baby’s face (according to Stanford Children’s Health, if the baby’s nerves were only bruised, the condition may improve on its own a few weeks after birth but surgery may be necessary);
- Cerebral palsy, which affects a child’s muscle movements or reflexes and general mobility;
- Spastic quadriplegia, or spastic tetraplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy that affects all of the child’s limbs (the arms and the legs);
- Brachial plexus palsy, including Erb’s palsy, which is a form of paralysis that affects the brachial plexus (according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the brachial plexus is “a network of nerves near the neck that give rise to all the nerves of the arm,” and which “provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers”); and
- Klumpke’s palsy, which refers to weakness in the baby’s hand.
When a child suffers a birth paralysis injury, it is likely that the child also has suffered additional birth injuries. An experienced Ontario birth injury lawyer can speak with you about your case and about the parties who may be responsible for your infant’s injuries.
Effects of Paralysis and Damages
Paralysis can mean that your child must receive frequent medical care throughout his or her life, and it can also mean that your child’s ability to earn a regular salary and to support himself or herself. Under Canadian law, injured parties can seek compensatory damages for a paralysis birth injury. Compensatory damages aim to compensate a person for losses, and they come in two different forms:
- Pecuniary losses, which are direct financial or economic losses; and
- Non-pecuniary losses, which are not objective and can vary from person to person depending upon the facts of the case.
Pecuniary losses include, for example, hospital bills, rehabilitative therapy costs, and lost wages. All of these losses are those that have a specific dollar amount attached to them. Non-pecuniary losses can be difficult to value because they may be different for each person, such as pain and suffering, or a person’s loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the injury. Common types of pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses for which plaintiffs receive damages include but are not limited to:
Payment for past hospital bills;
Payment for past surgeries;
Payment for past medications;
Payment for future hospital bills and other related medical costs;
Payment for future rehabilitative therapy costs;
Costs of necessary home renovations;
Costs of past and future medical supplies;
Loss of future income;
Loss of future earning capacity; and
Pain and suffering.
In Canada, non-pecuniary losses have a “cap” on them, which means that a plaintiff can not receive more than a specific set amount. In 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada set that cap at $100,000. It is adjusted for inflation, which means that the current cap is right around $367,000. Even if a court awards $1,000,000 in non-pecuniary damages, the plaintiff can only receive the capped amount.
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer in Ontario for Assistance with Your Paralysis Claim
If your child suffered paralysis as a birth injury, it is extremely important to work with an Ontario birth injury lawyer in order to seek financial compensation. Paralysis will affect your child for the rest of its life, both physically and emotionally. Moreover, your child is likely to need extensive medical care. Your family should not have to pay those financial costs when the paralysis resulted from a medical professional’s negligence.
To learn more about medical malpractice and paralysis birth injuries, you should speak with an Ontario paralysis lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers today to learn more about how we can assist you with your claim.